Newbery Medal/Honor

Book Review: My Brother Sam is Dead

Author
Collier, James Lincoln
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

When I started this book I could not understand why it had been banned. It seemed so innocuous. I only read it because it was in the free pile where I work. I looked it up and it was for violence, language, and an unpatriotic view of the Revolutionary War. Fair enough. It is violent and unpatriotic for sure, which is why I liked it. It's also a very good story and is about as accurate an account of the Revolutionary War era as can be reasonably expected from a work of fiction for young people.

Reviewer's Name
vfranklyn

Book Review: Hatchet

Author
Paulsen, Gary
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This book was very fun to read, it left you on the edge of your seat. It is a fairly short book. The story line has a fast pace. I would recommend this book to a more advanced reader. It is a riveting survival story centered in the Canadian wilderness.This book is now one of my favorites.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name
Thomas C.

Book Review: Mr. Popper's Penguins

Author
Atwater, Richard
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This absurd book was a fun read. I enjoyed the humor and outrageous premise of the book. Mr. Popper makes many sacrifices for his family of penguins, but the sacrifice is worth it. This book has won many awards and is a classic at my school. I especially enjoyed the unique ending to the satisfying story.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name
Thomas C.

Book Review: A Wrinkle in Time

Author
L'Engle, Madeleine
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

A Wrinkle in Time is an interesting story about three children, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, who go on a perilous journey to rescue Meg's father. He had been missing for a very long time, and Meg was just starting to lose hope. However, in the middle of a dark, stormy night, an old tramp invites herself in and tells the children the truth about his disappearance and the shocking truth about where he had gone. Now Meg and her friends must travel across universes, planets, and even time to rescue her father before it is too late. Will they succeed in saving her father or will they suffer a terrible fate instead? Find out by reading A Wrinkle In Time. It is a very good book.
Review Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name
Nicole B.

Book Review: Moon Over Manifest

Author
Vanderpool, Clare
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

This book definitely deserves its Newbery Honor Award. It tells an intricate story about a girl moving to a small town called Manifest in a captivating way. At the end of every chapter, I was left wanting more. The author didn't tell you everything and you had to piece the clues together. I liked that there is a point of view of someone during WWI because usually books are set in WWII. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.
Reviewers Grade:8

Reviewer's Name
Mikayla B.

Book Review: Walk Two Moons

Author
Creech, Sharon
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

On her way to Ohio to find her mother Salamanca, and her grandparents journey across the country to get there. On the way Sal tells the story of Phoebe Winterbottom a peculiar girl she met. I rate this a 5/5. The hidden messages really gives this book depth. Such as the irrationality of Phoebe, but also how Sal can understand her friend. They don't have a perfect relationship, which makes it very realistic. I recommend you read this, it's filled with suspense, action, and drama you won't be able to put it down.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name
Emily T.

Book Review: The Giver

Author
Lowry, Lois
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Jonas lives in a perfect world, but when he becomes the Receiver and is transferred memories from the past, he soon realizes that there are some serious issues with the way his "perfect world" is being run.
It was cool to see Jonas, the main character, grow and develop as a person.
In the beginning, he was as ignorant and naive as the rest of his peers, but he eventually matures and becomes aware of the problems around him.
The way Lois Lowry described surroundings were very clever. For example, (this is a bit of a spoiler) Jonas's world was in only black and white and I didn't realize it for a very long time because the author didn't outright say it; that made me feel Jonas's confusion when he first sees color.
It was really interesting reading about how Jonas's city functioned and what its rules were- it was very different from ours.
The novel gave me a lot to think about; it made me wonder how much bad things we can eradicate until the eradication itself becomes a bad thing. The line between good and evil becomes more and more blurry the closer you get.
The Giver is a nice book to read and I recommend it!
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Miriam X

Book Review: When You Reach Me

Author
Stead, Rebecca
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Sixth grader Miranda Sinclair started receiving strange letters that somehow predict the future. After she got more and more letters, Miranda was determined to solve the mystery behind them.
The novel really conveys the feeling of normalcy; it seems like the every-day life of an ordinary middle schooler, but when the future-predictions letters are added into the mix, it feels surreal- almost dream-like.
It got a little confusing in the middle for me because I couldn't understand why the characters were doing what they were doing, but it all gets brilliantly explained at the end. The way it all tied up was wonderful and worth all of the confusion; the ending really was the best part.
The characters were all like ordinary people I'd see everyday, which gave me the feeling that I was reading realistic fiction rather than science-fiction.
Their personalities weren't typical and they weren't just generic personalities (e.g., a a mean popular girl or a nerdy unpopular kid).
Reading When You Reach Me was a roller-coaster (especially the last part!) and I really recommend it to everyone.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name
Miriam X

Book Review: Jacob Have I Loved

Author
Paterson, Katherine
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

You know, I love Katherine Patterson. Bridge to Terabithia is my all-time favorite children's book. This book just didn't affect me the same way. Maybe it was the subject matter, I don't know. It was well written, just was missing the magic. But it's still worth a read.

Reviewer's Name
vfranklyn

Book Review: Justin Morgan Had a Horse

Author
Henry, Marguerite
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I liked this book because it was very catchy. For instance, at the end of a chapter, it left you at a cliffhanger. For example, Little Bub, later called Justin Morgan, was about to run in the biggest race in his life, and then the chapter ended. Also, it was a great book for kids because it didn’t have too much detail about the Morgan breed, but it still gave you the feel of the great horse.

My favorite character is either Little Bub or Joel, the main character. I liked Little Bub because he was such a good runner and puller and because of his funny little neigh. Joel and Little Bub became fast friends partly because of that neigh, and as the author describes it, “like the sound of a bugle.” His ability to run so fast helped the schoolmaster (Justin Morgan) to pay off his debts. I liked Joel because of his determination, like when he served for his state in the militia, to help care for the horses. He worked odd jobs in peoples houses to get much-needed supplies, such as water
pails and blankets. Also, I admire Joel in his hopefulness and patience.
For example, he had expected a letter from the schoolmaster and he waited for months. He stayed hopeful, and finally the letter came! Another example was that when the stranger bought little Bub, he didn’t give up looking for him, and he finally found him!

Right now, if I was the author, I would change three things. One, I would change the schoolmaster dying. Two, I would change the author not revealing who the anonymous buyer was for Little Bub. Three, I would change the scene where the small puppy ran out onto the racetrack. I thought Joel shouldn’t of interfered with the schoolmaster’s life.

Reviewer's Name
Kyle